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Voice of Health Committees and social accountability of local self-government bodies on health determinants of rural communities of Kyrgyzstan (WB, 2014-2017)

18.09.2014 11:03

Goal: To build the capacity of Village Health Committees (VHCs) and Association of VHCs.

Executor: Development Policy Institute and “Kyrgyzstan aiyldyk den sooluk komitetteri” Association Financing: with support of the “Global Partnership for Social Accountability” Trust Fund under the World Bank (GPSA). GPSA is a coalition of donors, governments and civil society organizations, whose efforts are aimed at improving the results of development by enhancing the capacity to create conditions for improved public feedback and participation in decision-making.

Duration of the project:  4 years from 2014 to 2017.

Geography: Kyrgyz Republic

Contacts: Ainura Djunushalieva, Project Manager; +(996 312) 976530, 976531 (add 113), e-mail: ADjunushalieva@dpi.kg

Project activities will be aimed at building a dialogue between VHCs and local self-government (LSG) bodies to mobilize all possible resources to address the determinants of the rural population health. The social health determinants are factors such as access to drinking water, sanitation, hygiene, safe housing, etc. They have a great impact on the health of both the individual and the community as a whole. Due to the improvement of health determinants, indirect beneficiaries of the project will be the rural population of the Kyrgyz Republic.

Aim of the VHCs – is to provide opportunities to rural population to act independently to improve condition of their health. This wide network is represented throughout the republic in the amount of 1670 village health committees, which are integrated into the national Association of village health committees.

The health system, regardless of its degree of development, only 25% effect on the health of the country population. The remaining 75% - are the factors on which physicians are not able to have a significant impact, since they are more relevant to other areas. For example, the quality of children nutrition in kindergartens and schools are the responsibility of education sphere and physical conditions of children in these institutions are a matter of local authorities, on the balance of which schools and kindergartens are. Often these conditions are named "health determinants" and this concept it is gaining ground in the world in recent years as one of the most important concepts that determine the quality of human life. However, in Kyrgyzstan, the health determinants are known only to specialists and some of the organizations in the field of health care.

The joint project of DPI and AVHC aims to draw public and state attention to the need for the state and inter-sectoral solutions of problems related to the health determinants. Village Health Committees - associations of volunteers who deal with the health determinants in rural areas - can play a significant role in this process. Therefore, the project aims at strengthening the interaction between LSG and VHCs for joint solutions of problems in 30 pilot villages in the Kyrgyz Republic. The next steps of the Project will aim to increase the capacity of VHCs and development of local policies that will take into account the solution of the problems that affect the health of local communities.

The uniqueness of this project lies in the fact that implementation of this project could become the basis for the formation and improvement of inter-sectoral policy aimed at preserving and improving the health of the population. It requires efforts of all society at the population level with the participation of not only the health care sector but also other branches and sectors. In order to achieve long-term effect the health care sector is to collaborate with different branches and sectors of society in order to raise awareness of their contribution to the creation of certain conditions and the responsibility they bear to improve these conditions. Exactly this course allows achieving a significant improvement in the health condition of the population.

Works under this project will allow VHCs to improve connections with local authorities, to create partnership relations and to work jointly to improve the health determinants in rural areas. Teaching LSG basics to VHCs within this project and their participation in joint activities will help LSG bodies to become more transparent and accountable to the community in matters of living conditions affecting health. LSG will pay more attention to the problems of the health determinants that have a positive impact on the health of the rural population.

In addition, product of the Project, such as research and analysis data can help state authorities to see the situation on the ground and will provide an opportunity to respond quickly to the needs of the rural population. DPI and AVHC, implementers of the project plan to inform relevant state authorities regularly about the progress and results of the Project. This information should serve as a source of information from the field for the key persons taking political decisions, including the Ministry of Health of the KR.

The project - it is also an opportunity to involve the wider population to the important issues of the health determinants. Furthermore, the successful implementation of the project will enhance social accountability of relevant state authorities and LSG bodies, which will increase the image and ratings of Kyrgyzstan in evaluations of transparency and budget perspicuity.

This project is the first (pilot) project funded by the GPSA and the first experience for the GPSA in the Kyrgyz Republic. After careful selection, 12 out of 216 applications were selected, including the application of the Development Policy Institute, a Kyrgyz non-governmental organization whose mission is to assist local communities and governments in realizing the rights and opportunities of people to live worthily.